I have to admit this is a great book on the topic of shaders and real-time graphics. Unlike most books on the topic of computer graphics, this one does not bother explaining (yet again) how to create a DirectX window and goes straight into the topic of switing vertex and pixel shaders. The plus of this book is that by avoiding the use of a specific API or speding time exlaining the use of such API, most of the book is spent explaining several techniques rangind from screen effects to advanced lighting techniques such as spherical harmonics. And all this is done through the use of the RenderMonkey tool... My only gripe about this book (why i gave it 4 stars) is that although most of the topics are complete sometimes the author jumps straight into some complicated new concepts without taking enough time providing the necessary background information. Finally, as a side note, this book DOES include RenderMonkey 1.5, which isn't yet availible through ATI.
This book have rapidly become my favorite our the past year. It is perfect for one that already know the basics of the language C and C++. The best about this book is the way it describes how to do a specific shader and the learning curve increases for every chapter you complete wish make every chapter interesting a new challenge wish, however, makes you want to learn more. The book is designed for HLSL(High Level Shader Language) in mind wish is the language Microsoft uses with Direct3D. After reading this book it shouldnt be to hard to learn GLSL(OpenGL Shading Language) wish OpenGl uses, the open-source version of shaders.
This book is awesome for beginners. There a lot of interesting exercises in the end of each chapter. The only complaint is about DOF. Even the source-code on the CD doesn't work properly. But still 5 stars.